Typically, health insurance quotes could vary greatly as to whether a dependent child of majority age may be included on a parent's policy. Some plans had hard-and-fast age limits, such as when the child reaches the age of 18 or 21. Others were more flexible, allowing a child to remain on a parent's policy until college graduation or a maximum age, such as 24 years old, whichever comes first. With the passage of the new federal health insurance reform law, however, the rules have changed, making it easier for young adults to stay covered under their parents' plans for a much longer period of time. When requesting a health insurance quote, you need to keep in mind these new rules.

Beginning in 2010, the new law, officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, requires insurance companies to offer young adults coverage under their parents' plan until the age of 27. This new provision gives parents more options, and greater breathing room, when looking for coverage for their adult children. No longer can adult children be kicked off a plan simply for reaching the age of 18 or 21, or having graduated from college. The age limit of 27 allows for several more years of coverage under a parent's plan, which can be especially helpful for recent college graduates who often take entry level positions with few, if any, insurance benefits.

Raising the maximum age of dependent coverage clearly affords more options to families. However, maintaining an adult child on a parent's plan may not always be the best alternative. If the adult child lives away from the parents, the plan may not cover the child where he or she is living. Many plans limit coverage to a specific geographic area or network of providers. Furthermore, the additional premium cost of keeping the child on the parent's plan may be greater than the cost of finding an affordable plan for the child on an individual basis. If the child is in overall good health, a high deductible or catastrophic plan may make better financial sense. When reviewing health insurance quotes, these considerations are important to address.

Before making a decision to keep an adult child on a parent's plan or requesting a health insurance quote for an individual plan, take the time to review what type coverage the adult child may need. Weigh the costs of both options against the levels of coverage that will be afforded. For some families, the option to keep the adult child on a parent's plan up to the age of 27 may make the most sense. For others, getting health insurance quotes for individual coverage may be the route to follow.

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